Pat & Kathy's 160 mile bicycle beach ride from near Hope to Homer

August 2005
written by Kathy Sarns Irwin ~ photos by Kathy and Pat Irwin

Chapter 3: Fisher Men and Women Off the Grid

Wednesday morning after a hearty breakfast of instant cereal and instant coffee we started biking at 8 am. Within about 20 minutes we heard a 4 wheeler. He introduced himself as John and said he has been set net fishing here for 25 years. He was out looking for signs of the brown bear that's been around and he asked if we had seen it. Nope. Yikes.

He asked if we needed anything and to come visit his home just up the beach.

Set net fishing is done with nets that are attached to the shore. The buoys you see in some of the ocean pictures are connected to the set nets. In this area the set net sites have been owned by the natives of this area, and passed down through generations. We cycled to his house that literally sat on the high tide water mark on the gravel. Their children had bicycles out there too, so we were not the first to ride bikes out there! Their kitchen table was out in front on the beach. He said that this was their dining room table and office. He brings it in closer to the house in the winter. There were several other homes on either side and he explains they belong to his brothers in-law, sisters in-law, and mother in-law.The fishing isn't as good as it used to be but they like the lifestyle. He also thought that when Captain Cook buried the bottle that the natives probably watched him and then dug it up afterwards and now the locals are adding that part to their stories and he chuckled. He gave us a lot of bottled water and when we tried to be polite and refuse too much of his precious water he insisted that we take more. I used his cell phone to remind our house sitter that we have a cat I forgot to mention besides the four dogs. Last call home.